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14th November 2007

College mourns death of two students

Written by University of Oxford, Press Office, 01865 280531 (13 November 2007)

Frances Cairncross, Rector of Exeter College, Oxford, said: ‘Exeter College is devastated by the deaths yesterday of two of its first-year students, Sundeep Watts and Harcourt (“Olly”) Tucker. Our hearts go out to their families and friends.

‘The deaths are entirely unconnected. Sundeep Watts was diagnosed on Saturday with meningitis. Olly Tucker died of a heart attack while playing hockey on Sunday morning. All the specialists dealing with him have assured us that there is no connection whatsoever between the two cases.

‘The college has taken advice at every stage from public-health authorities. Their view is that our other students are not at any increased risk. However, we have reinforced from Saturday onwards knowledge of the warning symptoms of meningitis. Our staff have worked non-stop to answer questions from the student body, and will continue to do so. We have arranged an extensive network of counselling for anyone who requires it.

‘The information we have been given is that it is preferable that the students remain in Oxford than that they return home early. The college doctor and the medical authorities are extremely alert to signs of meningitis, and the John Radcliffe Hospital has an outstanding capacity in tackling it.

‘The College is closed to the general public for the time being, in order to ensure that our students have peace at this difficult time.’

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